• Renee

Missionary Guilt

Can I just be real for a sec? (You can stop reading if not...cause that's what I'm going to do!) If you've been around this blog very long, you have probably heard me admit that I care just a little too much what other people think about me. And this life that we have chosen is one that has become pretty "public." (I mean...CNN Headline News is pretty public...right?! Total craziness.) Many of our friends, family and people we've met along the way have followed our journey here in Haiti. And over the three years, even though Craig has been employed all but 6 months, many of you have given financially to us.

With all that said, I have guilt. Guilt when I'm still. Guilt to take a vacation. Guilt that I'm not doing enough.

I worry people think we're just living a life of vacation down here on a remote island in the Caribbean...sounds nice, doesn't it? (And so what if we were?!...Good for those who can!) I have put expectations on myself based on what I think OTHERS expect me to do.

Growing up, when I would hear about missionaries, I always pictured them working non-stop, sun up to sun down, doing everything they could to help others and tell them about Jesus. Well, I must not be a very good missionary...because I like naps. When we moved to Haiti, adjusting to the slower pace of life was very difficult for me. When people would ask us what we were doing, I felt like I needed to be able to recite a long list of the great things that I have accomplished.

But many times, the only thing I got done that day was a load of laundry and a trip to the market! (and maybe a nap in front of the fan while {almost} melting in the afternoon heat!)

Guess what? Our life might look more like yours that you realize. We have school. I do laundry, cook meals, do dishes, clean the house. I take the kids to their friends' house. We go to church, bible study and the grocery store. (Yes, we may have to take a boat to get to some of the grocery stores, and our main mode of transportation on the island may be a small motorcycle...but still.) We build relationships with our neighbors and the people in our community. We learn about the needs of people around us. We take naps. (Have you gotten the picture that I like sleep?) Some days we go on adventures. Some days we swim.

I've said it many times. For us, we've just decided to live our life, whatever that looks like, somewhere different. Just like you...we can find happy people, sad people, people with need and people with abundance around us. We have learned that we can't help everyone. We can't be the Savior. We are here to live our lives and to help in ways that we can with those we are in relationship with. Just like we would hopefully be doing back in the States.

So why should I have this guilt?

Why do I feel guilty when our family takes a vacation? Why do I feel the need to keep it a secret? Everyone needs breaks...well, maybe not Captain America. (Sorry...just saw the new Captain American Civil War movie!)

Well people...the secret is out...we took a vacation :) It was hard for me to even enjoy this vacation with everything that is happening back in Haiti. Even though our vacation was booked and planned before we even knew the hurricane was coming, you better believe I felt like I was running away when everyone else was running in. (Great missionary, right?!)

One of the best gifts you can give a missionary...or anyone for that to support the decisions that they make for themselves and their family without judgement. We are the only ones who really, truly know what we need.

In the coming weeks and months, there will be so many missionaries who will NEED to take a break. Who have been working and giving to so many people who need help after the hurricane. They will be no good for anyone because they will work themselves to the point of physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion and still try to press on. Then, they will worry about using money that other people have given to take a vacation. Or they will worry about what it will look like if they leave the people who need their help. Or the fact that the money they use on that vacation could buy more rice for the people who are hungry.

But what we need to remember is...WE are not the Savior. Haiti (or anywhere for that matter) does not need US. Our God is a God of abundance. If we leave, someone else will fill the gap. (I know, I know...they won't do it as well as WE would...) But, things are not going to crumble if we step out for a bit. We are not THAT important...sorry guys.

So can you all do me a favor and cheer people on...not just missionaries...but anyone who feels the need (or desire) to take a vacation? What is it about our society that feels the need to WORK ourselves to pure exhaustion in order to feel productive and successful?!

Let's choose to lose the judgmental thoughts. Let's be happy for each other.

Let's live to make Galatians 1:10 the reality of our lives...

"Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.

If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant." (NLT)


Bercy, HAITI

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The Janofski Family